Fantasy Canyon is a ten-acre plot of bizarre sandstone formations. We accidentally found the place on-line, and my parents (visiting for the weekend) were thrilled to go. Before Fantasy Canyon itself is the drive to Fantasy Canyon…
There was this (I cropped out the power lines): All the badlands speckled with drilling equipment and a light smog.
We also passed by this brightly painted trailer restaurant that presumably fries up rattlesnake and pork chops. It was sadly closed on Sundays.
After what seemed like endless hours of a painful 55 mph speed limit on inconsistent “highway”, we finally turned down a dirt road labeled “Fantasy Canyon.” There were some mud puddle filled washes, but mom splashed through with her trusty Subaru. Resulting in this potential Subaru ad:
Very picturesque with the power plant and oil container drums:
I really needed to pee and there was this bathroom…
That’s nice. I’ll pee outside where I will at least see the pigmy rattlesnakes coming to attack me. (The rest of the trip consisted of me hiking tiptoeing around super paranoid). I’ve seen it spelled pigmy or pygmy. I’m not sure which is correct. I don’t really care. I hate them either way. I really, really hate snakes. A lot.
There was apparently a trail and you were supposed to stay on it. We lost track of it quite promptly. This was the only obvious trail:
The first, and arguably the most impressive formation was the Witch’s Head:
Followed by a goblin’s head (Lord of the Rings goblins):
And a herd of Ghostbusters ghosts:
According to a Fantasy Canyon brochure (which, by the way, is on BLM land): this place was underwater millions of years ago. The rock formed over thousands of years as sediment built up and replaced the lake with dirt…eventually forming “solid sandstone, siltstone and shale.” Natural erosion caused the siltstone and shale to wash away, leaving behind the sturdier sandstone in the curious shapes. Fantasy characters like “flying dumbo” inspire the “Fantasy” Canyon name. This would be an excellent place to bring a geologist friend—if only to explain everything in-depth.
The brochure also includes the Native legend (does not specify tribe) about the canyon (interview with Muse Harris, Indian Chief Red Moose), ending with the quote: “…again the West Wind blew and as the ice melted, the dust took its place and now the monsters stand in the pit they dug all of them turned to stone. It is a warning to the evil ones down in hell to leave the good green earth alone.”
This either seems appropriate or ironic as an almost-secret canyon set in the heart of drilling and mining and power plant land.
Anyway…if you ever happen to be in the middle of nowhere eastern Utah (see: Bonanza Power Plant), Fantasy Canyon is certainly worth the time. Unless it is summer and there are pygmy rattlesnakes infesting the bathroom. Then I would not go.
(Featured image is mom jumping above the canyon).